Scream VI
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
Based onCharacters
by Kevin Williamson
Produced by
  • William Sherak
  • James Vanderbilt
  • Paul Neinstein
Starring
CinematographyBrett Jutkiewicz
Edited byJay Prychidny
Music by
Production
companies
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
Running time
122 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$33–35 million[2][3]
Box office$169.1 million[4][5]

Scream VI is a 2023 American slasher film directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. It is the sequel to Scream (2022) and the sixth installment in the Scream film series. The film stars Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Roger L. Jackson, Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Hayden Panettiere, and Courteney Cox, all reprising their roles from previous installments, with Jack Champion, Henry Czerny, Liana Liberato, Dermot Mulroney, Devyn Nekoda, Tony Revolori, Josh Segarra, and Samara Weaving joining the ensemble cast. The plot follows a new Ghostface killer, who begins targeting the survivors of the Woodsboro murders in New York City.

A sixth Scream film was announced just weeks after the successful debut of Scream (2022). Much of the cast signed on to reprise their roles, with Bettinelli-Olpin, Gillett, Vanderbilt, and Busick also returning. Filming took place in Montreal, Canada, from June to late August 2022. Neve Campbell did not reprise her role as Sidney Prescott due to a pay dispute, making this the first Scream film not to feature her. Brian Tyler, who had scored the fifth film, returned to compose and conduct the score, with Sven Faulconer joining Tyler as a co-composer.

Scream VI premiered at the AMC Lincoln Square Theater in Manhattan on March 6, 2023, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 10 by Paramount Pictures. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $169 million worldwide, becoming the first installment in the franchise to earn over $100 million at the domestic US box office since Scream 2 (1997) and the highest-grossing Scream film in the United States and Canada (unadjusted for inflation). It won Best Movie at the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards and ranked #3 on The Hollywood Reporter's list of "The Best Slasher Movies of the Decade".[6][7]

Plot

One year after the Woodsboro killings orchestrated by Richie Kirsch and Amber Freeman,[a] Blackmore University professor Laura Crane is catfished and murdered by her student Jason Carvey wearing a Ghostface costume because of him blaming her for failing. Jason plots with his roommate Greg to kill sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter to finish the "movie" that Richie and Amber wanted to make. However, Jason receives a call from a different Ghostface, who has killed Greg and subsequently stabs Jason to death.

Sam and Tara now live in New York City, with Tara attending Blackmore University alongside fellow survivors Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin, their roommate Quinn Bailey, Mindy's girlfriend Anika Kayoko, and Chad's roommate Ethan Landry. Sam attends therapy with Dr. Christopher Stone and has become a public pariah because of an online conspiracy theory that she was the true mastermind of the recent killings. Quinn's father, Detective Wayne Bailey, calls Sam in for questioning as her ID was found at the scene of Jason's murder, along with a Ghostface mask worn by Richie and Amber. On the way to the station, Ghostface calls Sam from Richie's phone, who then attacks Tara and kills multiple bystanders in a bodega, and leaves behind another Ghostface mask worn in the 2011 Woodsboro killings.[b]

At the NYPD police station, the sisters meet with FBI special agent Kirby Reed, a survivor of the 2011 killings,[b] and reporter Gale Weathers, who has since written a new book on the previous Woodsboro killings despite promising the Carpenter sisters that she would not.[a] She tells them she spoke to Sidney Prescott and that she has gone into hiding to protect her family. Dr. Stone is murdered by Ghostface, who steals Sam's file and leaves behind a mask worn in the Hollywood killings.[c] Mindy theorizes that the killer is following the rules of film franchises, specifically the rule that anyone can die while the franchise will still continue. From his window, Sam's boyfriend Danny witnesses Ghostface stabbing Quinn in Sam and Tara's apartment before attacking the group and killing Anika, leaving behind a mask worn in the Windsor College killings.[d] Gale takes the group to an abandoned theater she found while investigating, which has been set up as a shrine to the Ghostface killers, featuring many items of evidence related to previous massacres now displayed like film props.

Ghostface calls Gale at her apartment and torments her about the death of Dewey Riley before killing her boyfriend and attacking her. Sam and Tara arrive just in time to stop Ghostface from killing Gale, who is taken to the hospital. The group agrees to meet Kirby at the theater to trap Ghostface. Mindy is stabbed by Ghostface on the train. At the theater, Sam sees a hallucination of her father, original Ghostface killer Billy Loomis. Taking his knife from the original murders,[e] she realizes they have been locked inside. Two Ghostfaces appear and attack Chad. Wayne and Kirby both arrive with guns drawn and he shoots her, revealing himself as a third Ghostface and the mastermind. His accomplices are his children, revealed to be Ethan and a still-alive Quinn, who faked her death to ease suspicion. They reveal their motive is to take revenge on Sam for killing Richie,[a] who was their brother and Wayne's first-born son, and that they defamed Sam online and infiltrated her life with the intent of killing her. Sam and Tara ultimately gain the upper hand and fight them off, with Tara stabbing Ethan and Sam killing Quinn while briefly rendering Wayne unconscious. Sam then dons her father's Ghostface costume, taunts Wayne with a phone call, and stabs him to death. Ethan resurfaces, but Kirby smashes a television set over his head, killing him.

Sam agrees to let Tara live her life more independently, and Tara agrees to go to therapy. As Mindy, Chad, and Kirby are taken to the hospital, Sam stares at her father's Ghostface mask before discarding it and following Tara and Danny into the city.

Cast

Further information on individual characters: List of Scream VI characters

Additionally, Jack Quaid reprises his role as Richie Kirsch in an uncredited video cameo.[8] Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett can be seen in the subway scene.[9]

Production

Development

Prior to the release of Scream 4 (2011), series creator Kevin Williamson claimed he had already "mapped out" Scream 5 and Scream 6, but would wait to see the box office success of the fourth installment before signing on for any more films.[10] In July 2014, Williamson revealed that Scream 4 was intended to kick off a new trilogy of films, but the film "never took off in a way they hoped". Williamson also said that he would likely not be involved in any further entries, as the series director Wes Craven and his team were "done" with him.[11] In Williamson's initial pitch, Scream 5 saw Jill Roberts being stalked by a killer at her college campus, while Scream 6 would feature Gale Weathers as the main character and deal with her relationship with Dewey Riley.[12]

In January 2022, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and Tyler Gillett expressed interest in making future films in the series.[13] Courteney Cox would later express an interest in a sequel while doing publicity for Shining Vale.[14] A sixth film was officially green-lit on February 3, 2022, by Spyglass Media Group. Olpin and Gillett of Radio Silence would return to direct while James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick would write the script once again.[15] By the end of the month, Campbell was approached to return for the film.[16] The following month, Cox had received the script and was courted to reprise her role.[17] Also in March, the sixth film's release date was set for March 31, 2023.[18] A few weeks later, plot details emerged, setting the film outside of Woodsboro. By June, it was announced the film would take place in New York City.[19] Ortega said the film would feature a more "aggressive and violent" Ghostface than in previous entries.[20]

Casting

In May 2022, it was announced that Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, and Jenna Ortega would all return for the sixth film.[21] The following day, it was announced that Hayden Panettiere would reprise her role of Kirby Reed from the fourth film.[22] When asked about her involvement in the film, Cox claimed that her contract was not yet completed.[23] Also in June, it was announced that Dermot Mulroney had joined the cast, playing a police officer,[24] and Cox officially confirmed her involvement with the film.[25] On June 16, Jack Champion, Liana Liberato, Devyn Nekoda and Josh Segarra joined the cast, followed by Henry Czerny on June 23.[26][27] Samara Weaving and Tony Revolori were both announced as cast members on July 14.[28]

Neve Campbell's involvement

On June 6, 2022, it was announced Neve Campbell would not be returning as Sidney Prescott for the sixth film. The actress made a statement about how her contract and salary negotiations had stalled with Paramount Pictures:

"As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream. I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise. It's been a very difficult decision to move on. To all my Scream fans, I love you. You've always been so incredibly supportive to me. I'm forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years."[29]

Campbell expanded on her statement a few weeks later, saying she could not bear "walking on set and feeling undervalued" and that the offer would have been different had she been a man.[30][31][32]

IndieWire noted Campbell had spent 26 years acting in the franchise and announced it was "the end of an era".[33] David Arquette stated, "I'd love for her to be a part of it. A Scream movie without Sidney is kind of unfortunate, but I understand her decision. It's all a business in a way, they have to balance all these elements to fit a budget and produce a film."[34] Jasmin Savoy Brown and Melissa Barrera – as well as former Scream co-stars Emma Roberts, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Jamie Kennedy – also expressed their support for Campbell's decision and praised her contributions to the series.[35][36][37][38][39] In March 2023, Courteney Cox told Variety that she missed working with Campbell on the movie but was going to "support whatever she feels is right".[40]

Even though she would not be in the film, it was said the script still contained references to and was "protective" of the Sidney character.[41][42]

In December 2022, Radio Silence Productions commented on Campbell's absence, saying her absence affected the script "greatly."[43] However, in March 2023, the pair said the script had changed "very little" since Campbell had exited "early enough in the process".[8] In both instances, they said they decided to use the change as an opportunity to focus more on other characters, particularly the four young survivors from the previous film. They also mentioned how much they love both Campbell and the Sidney character and that she could return in future installments.[44][43]

Filming

Principal photography began on June 9, 2022, in Montreal, Canada. Vanderbilt, Paul Neinstein and William Sherak produced under Project X Entertainment, while Chad Villella, Cathy Konrad, Marianne Maddalena and Williamson served as executive producers.[45] Hayden Panettiere posed for a set photo on August 6, along with Jasmin Savoy Brown, that was picked up by various media outlets given her return to the franchise.[46][47] Courteney Cox revealed she had finished filming her part as of August 14.[48] Filming ended in late August.[49]

The subway scene was done without a green screen, largely relying on practical effects. According to director of photography Brett Jutkiewicz, "The special effects team was actually able to tow the car into and out of our subway platform set. So, there's some brief moments when you can see the car stopping at a station. That's actually practical. It's being pulled from a black fabric tunnel onto our subway platform set and you can actually see it pulling in." However, Jutkiewicz did originally protest the subway train flicker effects: "I definitely said to the directors, 'Is that too much? It's not totally realistic that it would flicker that much.' And they were like, 'No, we love it. It works.' And I think that's the whole thing about this film: we're creating this heightened naturalism where, even if something isn't super true to reality, we wanted it to be true enough to make you feel like you are in these environments while we heighten the experience and lean into the tension and the emotional experience the characters are going through."[50]

The film's climax features a projection of a fictional movie made by the character Richie Kirsch. Some of the footage shown is actually from actor Jack Quaid's real-life home videos, interspliced with footage for the film, with voiceovers also provided by Quaid. The film features many homages and items from previous films inside the theater museum. The items used were not actually the original props from previous films but rather were recreated by the film's art and costume departments.[51]

Music

Main article: Scream VI (soundtrack)

The film is scored by Brian Tyler, returning from the previous installment.[52] Sven Faulconer co-scored the film with Tyler.[53] American singer Demi Lovato released "Still Alive" on March 3, 2023, by Island Records as the lead single of the film's soundtrack.[54][55] Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park released a solo song as part of the Scream VI soundtrack, "In My Head", on March 10, featuring Kailee Morgue.[56][57] The film's soundtrack score album was released on March 10 by Paramount Music.[58]

Release

Scream VI had its world premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on March 6, 2023.[59] The film was released in the United States on March 10, 2023, by Paramount Pictures.[60] It was originally set for release on March 31, 2023.[61] The film was released in RealD 3D, 4DX and Dolby Cinema formats.[62][63][64]

Marketing

In several cities, a viral marketing stunt occurred, as the studio's marketing firm sent individuals wearing a Ghostface costume and mask to stand motionless in front of cameras and walk around the streets, resulting in multiple 911 calls from unsettled residents.[65][66] The marketing campaign also included the launch of a website that allowed American users to receive personalized phone calls from Ghostface,[67] Scream-themed meals in different Chain pop-up dinners and an immersive walk-through featuring props and reconstructed sets from the franchise in California;[68] the walk-throughs included appearances by directors and producers Radio Silence Productions, along with actors Mason Gooding, Dermot Mulroney and Tony Revolori.[69][70]

Home media

Scream VI was released digitally on April 25, 2023, in the US, where it also began streaming on Paramount+ and various other regions. It was released on VOD on May 9, 2023, in other regions, such as the UK and Ireland.[71] Its DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray released in the US and some regions on July 11, 2023.[72] Upon its release, the film debuted at #1 on the UK Official Film Chart Top 40.[73] The film grossed $4.4 million in home media sales.[5]

Reception

Box office

Scream VI grossed $108.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $60.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $169.1 million.[4][5] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $60 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[74]

In the United States and Canada, Scream VI was projected to gross $35–40 million from 3,675 theaters in its opening weekend.[75] The film made $19.3 million on its first day, including $5.7 million from Thursday night previews.[3] It went on to debut to $44.4 million, marking the highest opening weekend of the franchise and finishing first at the box office. Of the opening weekend audience, 71 percent of the audience was between the ages of 18 and 34 (with 42 percent being between 18 and 24), while 51 percent were male.[76] It made $17.5 million in its second weekend, finishing second behind newcomer Shazam! Fury of the Gods,[77] and then $8.4 million in its third weekend, finishing fourth.[78] The film crossed the $100 million mark on April 5, becoming the first of the franchise to do so domestically since Scream 2 (1997).[79][80][81] It became the highest-grossing film in the franchise at the United States and Canada box office in unadjusted dollars.[82][83]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 76% of 310 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The website's consensus reads: "Certain aspects of horror's most murderously meta franchise may be going stale, but a change of setting and some inventive set pieces help keep Scream VI reasonably sharp."[84] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 61 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[85] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of B+ on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall 87% positive score, with 74% saying they would definitely recommend it.[76]

Chicago Sun-Times's Richard Roeper gave the film three out of four stars, writing "Nevertheless, off we go on another aggressively gruesome, wickedly funny and at times cleverly staged Scream-fest that cheerfully defies logic while hitting all the right notes we've come to expect from the franchise." He praised the performances of Barrera, Ortega and Brown and felt the film's ending was "the most outlandish and spectacularly brutal ending of all".[86] Owen Gleiberman, writing for Variety, gave the film a positive review despite finding it "too long", noting that it "is a pretty good thriller [...] [and] a gory homicidal shell game that's clever in all the right ways, staged and shot more forcefully than the previous film, eager to take advantage of its more sprawling but enclosed cosmopolitan setting".[87]

Benjamin Lee from The Guardian gave the film a four-star rating out of five, describing it as gorier and a smarter follow-up to Scream (2022).[88] Simon Thompson from The Playlist gave the film an A and described Panettiere as "the active ingredient here, the bolt from the blue, and she revels in the role, delivering a real treat for die-hard fans".[89] Bleeding Cool writer Aedan Juvet described the sixth entry as a "perfect" genre film, praising Panettiere's return to the franchise.[90] In a review rated four out of five stars, Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent called the film "bloody, satisfying and ridiculously fun" and similarly praised the performance of Panettiere, who "plays the role with a sly wit".[91]

Olly Richards, reviewing the film for Empire, gave it three out of five stars, opining that it was "still far more inventive and entertaining than most horror franchises of a similar vintage", yet "one of the sillier series entries in terms of plot, but still scary enough and funny enough to leave you hoping Ghostface might yet kill again".[92] Jeffrey Anderson, writing for Common Sense Media, wrote "While this slasher sequel is bogged down by complicated lore and is far more brutal than it is actually scary, the strong characters and an effective mystery come together to make it a cut above. Fans of the franchise will likely want to rewatch the previous five movies before tackling Scream VI, as it has many, many references to them."[93] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter gave it a mixed review, believing the film to be a satisfying addition to the franchise by blending nostalgia with a fresh take, but concluded that it was "not exactly cutting-edge anymore".[94]

Accolades

Accolades received by Scream VI
Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards June 30, 2023 Best Horror Scream VI Nominated [95]
MTV Movie & TV Awards May 7, 2023 Best Fight Courteney Cox (as Gale Weathers) vs. Ghostface Won [6]
Best Movie Scream VI Won
Best Song Demi Lovato for "Still Alive" Nominated
Saturn Awards February 4, 2024 Best Horror Film Release Scream VI Nominated [96]
People's Choice Awards February 18, 2024 The Drama Movie of the Year Scream VI Nominated [97]
The Drama Movie Star of the Year Jenna Ortega Won
The Female Movie Star of the Year Jenna Ortega Nominated
Critics' Choice Super Awards April 4, 2024 Best Actress in a Horror Movie Jenna Ortega Nominated [98]
Best Horror Movie Scream VI Nominated

Sequel

In March 2023, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillet were "hopeful" for a seventh film in the series and said they would like to continue to see more films in the franchise "whether we're involved or not".[99] They also stated that they wanted Campbell to return in future installments, saying "we'd love to be able to make another movie with her, and we're not giving up".[51]

In August, Christopher Landon was announced as the director of the seventh film.[100] Production had been slowed by the 2023 Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes; plans were pushed back again on November 21, when Barrera was fired from the film for social media posts in support of Palestine during the 2023 Israel–Hamas war which were interpreted as antisemitic by producers.[101][102] The next day, it was announced that Ortega was not returning due to scheduling conflicts with filming the Netflix series Wednesday,[103] as well as due to salary disputes with Spyglass Media Group,[104] while it was also reported that screenwriters Vanderbilt and Busick were now tasked with "starting from scratch".[105] On December 23, Landon announced that he was no longer associated with the sequel, saying: "I guess now is as good a time as any to announce I formally exited Scream 7 weeks ago. It was a dream job that turned into a nightmare. And my heart did break for everyone involved. Everyone. But it's time to move on."[106][107]

In March 2024, Campbell wrote on her Instagram that she would return as Sidney. She also confirmed that Kevin Williamson, the writer and producer of several previous Scream films, would direct from a script by Busick and Vanderbilt, with Radio Silence returning as executive producers.[108]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c As depicted in Scream (2022)
  2. ^ a b As depicted in Scream 4 (2011)
  3. ^ As depicted in Scream 3 (2000)
  4. ^ As depicted in Scream 2 (1997)
  5. ^ As depicted in Scream (1996)

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